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THE DYNASTS ACT n
Of course it's that! For nothing else could hang
My lord on tenterhooks through nights and days;—
Or rather, not the question, but the tongues
That keep the question stirring. Bought recked you
Of throne-succession or dynastic lines
When gloriously engaged in Italy!
I was your fairy then : they labelled me
Your Lady of Victories ; and much I joyed,
Till dangerous ones drew near and daily sowed
These choking tares within your fecund brain,—
Making me tremble if a panel crack,
Or mouse but cheep, or silent leaf sail down,
And murdering my melodious hours with dreads
That my late happiness, and my late hope,
Will oversoon be knelled!
NAPOLEON (genially nearing her)
But years have passed since first we talked of it ; And now, with loss of dear Hortense's son Who won me as my own, it looms forth more. And selfish 'tis in my good Josephine To blind her vision to the weal of France, And this great Empire's solidarity. The grandeur of your sacrifice would gild Your life's whole shape.
Were I as coarse a wife As I am limned in English caricature— (Those cruel effigies they draw of me!)— You could not speak more aridly.
You know, my comrade, how I love you stilL